The Animated Series cel-shaded action figures review

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It’s hard to write an opening for something related to Batman: The Animated Series, because everyone knows it, everyone loves it, and I can only share my own personal anecdotes so many times before I become “repetitive” or something. I don’t know.

Anyway, McFarlane have a bunch of great action figures, and have started producing more pieces based on the animated Batman shows from the Nineties. This particular wave is pretty cool, in that two of the figures have a “cel-shaded” design to emulate the coloring from the series. Check out McFarlane’s take on animated Batman and Catwoman below.

Batman

Of the two figures presented here, Batman is less representative of the “cel-shaded” design. He looks okay, but not as good as Catwoman.

Saying that, as a Batman figure itself? This guy is pretty dang good.

Based on Batman’s design from The New Batman Adventures series, Batman has the broad shouldered build and gray and black suit of the Dark Knight from the animated series’ “fourth season.” The sculpt is pretty faithful to its animated counterpart, from the costume down to the accessories. The figure includes several extra sets of hands, a grappling hook launcher, and a Batarang as well, which is pretty in line with the most popular gadgets batman used in this particular cartoon.

The accessories are what impressed me about this figure the most, to be honest, because the variety of hands allowed for a ton of different fun poses. The grappling hook launcher can be held by a few different hands, but there’s also a hand that already has the launcher molded into it, which is really nice. Sometimes, those smaller accessories can be hard to balance well when posing, so having a stationary piece adds to the figure’s displayability.

The Batarang is really cool too, though it’s pretty small and thin so it might be easy to lose if you aren’t careful. Still, it fits snugly in several of the hands too, so again, you’ve got options.

Back to the figure itself, the sculpt is great, even if I wish another cape had been included. The one included with the figure is flowing in a way that favors one side, which looks cool, but can make for some awkward posing depending on the positioning of the rest of the figure. The paint application is all around solid too, but as I said earlier, the cel-shaded aspect isn’t really strong.  There’s lighter shading around the shoulders on the cape and on his inner thighs, and that’s about it. What’s there looks fine, but barely enough to consider this to be a variant figure.

Even still, a good Batman toy is a good Batman toy, and this is a really good Batman toy.

Catwoman

If you’re going to make a “cel-shaded action figure,” then Catwoman here does it right. And yes, she’s a great figure in her own right, which is… well, not a bonus, because you want a solid piece, but it’s still nice to be able to say that.

Unlike Batman, Catwoman is based on her original Animated Series design, which I appreciate because it’s a much more interesting costume. Rather than an all black bodysuit, the gray, black, and yellow outfit is much more striking and dynamic, and lends itself incredibly well to the cel-shading. Oddly enough, there isn’t much more shading than that which is found on the Batman figure, but the coloring on her legs, torso, and gloves catches your eye while still remaining subtle.

Catwoman comes with two extra pairs of hands, a whip, and an unmasked head. The only downside to the whip is that it’s made of thing plastic, so it just kind of flops around when posed. It would have been nice had it had a flexible wire inside, so you can get it into a bunch of different shapes and such, but I also get why it wasn’t. Those can get messed up really quick.

The alternate head looks particularly great, capturing Selina’s likeness from the TV series. The heads pop on and off with relative ease, which is nice, because I’ve reviewed some pieces where it was nearly impossible to swap out replacement accessories and it can hurt.

A lot.

Other than the whip, about the only complaint I have is that the figure is hard to pose and stand up on its own, because she has such slim, tiny fit. Screen accurate? Yes. Easy to balance? Don’t make me laugh.

Regardless, it’s a great looking figure, and one that really sells the “cel-shading” idea, while also being a great Catwoman figure on its own.

Overall: Both figures are great, with Batman standing out because of his awesome accessories and Catwoman edging out the competition with a figure that looks amazing and fits the “cel-shaded” theming. You can’t go wrong with either, though, whether you’re a fan of the animated series or just an action figure collector in general.

McFarlane provided each figure for the purpose of this review.


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